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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moroccan Lemon, Olive, and Chicken Tagine

I've never had Moroccan food before and I'm SOLD on it after trying this recipe. I was looking for a new chicken recipe and came across Jenn, The Leftover Queen's blog post , and realized I had most of the spices and would only need a few ingredients to give this a try. Just looking at the list of ingredients tells you that this is going to be CRAZY in comparison to our normal hum-drum weeknight chicken, and boy it was so awesome!

You must try this recipe! I was a little worried that The Husband wouldn't like it... he likes some exotic foods - middle eastern, ethiopian, thai, but not indian. I decided to go ahead with the recipe anyway, just because it was so different and we all need some variety in our lives. The Husband really loved this, and he took the leftovers for lunch today and said it was just as delicious as last night. Finally a successful new recipe! This is a keeper, and you really need to try it. Oh did I say that already?

Click on The Leftover Queen's link above for her great pictures and great presentation of this dish. A tagine, if you're wondering, is a Moroccan slow-cooked stew braised at low temperatures, and as Wikipedia put it, this results in tender meat and aromatic sauces. A tagine is also the name for the clay vessel used for cooking these stews in. Another fan-tabulous thing about this meal was I got to finally use my brand new LeCreuset pot cast-iron enameled pot (in bright yellow) and it worked out perfectly. I love using new kitchen toys... that's a great pot.

I've also posted the recipe below for your convenience, and a big THANK YOU to The Leftover Queen for sharing this. Now that I know I love this type of food, I can't wait to look up other recipes and try some more tagines! Though I can't imagine topping this one!

I didn't have "lemon peel stuffed olives" or saffron and I used chicken thighs as the meat, but otherwise I followed Jenn's instructions.

Moroccan Lemon, Olive and Chicken Tagine
as noted on Jenn, The Leftover Queen's blog

coarse sea salt
one small chicken cut into 8 pieces(or I had 1.2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs - delish!)
1 TBS white vinegar (I also used apple cider as this is what I had)
2 cups water
5 TBS olive oil
1 large bunch of fresh cilantro finely minced (and maybe save some for garnish)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp real saffron (i left this out because I don't have any)
salt to taste
1/2 lb chopped onions (turns out this is about half of a very large onion)
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 TBS olive oil
1+ large jar of queen green olives (mine were stuffed with garlic, and I also used half a small jar stuffed with onions too..)
1 lemon's worth of lemon zest and/or grated/sliced lemon peel
about 1/4 cup of raisins (or as many as you want)

Here's what I did:

Rub the chicken thighs with the sea salt and then put in a large bowl with a bath of the water and vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes, while the rub is prepared. The rub took a lot longer than I expected (de-stemming cilantro) so you might want to start it ahead of the chicken bath.

For the marinade, mix together the 5 T olive oil, cilantro, salt to taste, half of the onions, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, tumeric, ginger, and paprika.

Drain the chicken (I reused the same bath bowl for this next step) and dump in the marinade and make sure the marinade is covering all chicken pieces. If your marinade is a little dry, a little water can be added. Let sit for 15 minutes (I may have let it sit for a little less due to it being so late at night).

Heat up your pot with a lit on the stove (I had mine in the oven during preheat, but then read in the directions that it was bad to preheat an empty pot.. oops), and pour in 2T of olive oil. Place the chicken in the pan and scrape in the rest of the marinade. Add the rest of the onions, and also the olives, raisins, and lemon peel. I stirred this a little bit to make sure everything was incorporated. Cover with lid and bake in oven for 45-50 minutes.

Serve over couscous or something else to soak up the delicious sauce! Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges if you'd like. Try not to devour it all in one night... I hope you try this delicious recipe!


  1. This sounds really interesting. I will see if Andy is feeling adventurous. ;)

  2. chicken tagin feel the difference